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The goals of the liberal arts – to create intellectually agile, responsible, global citizens – drive undergraduate education at the College of William & Mary. A liberal arts education aims to develop intellectual capacities, increase critical reasoning, sharpen self-reflection, heighten empathy, and enhance the ability to communicate across different audiences. Such advances in understanding the world, critical thinking, personal insight, and eloquence improve the individual's and the community's quality of life. These attributes grow by learning and performing the processes of inquiry in different academic disciplines. While all of the academic programs in Arts and Sciences seek to achieve many of these goals, liberal arts objectives are foregrounded in particular in the College’s general education curriculum. The mission of the Center for the Liberal Arts (CLA) is to support the creation and maintenance of a robust liberal arts education in the general education curriculum.

The CLA is a home for aspirational curriculum development. It seeks ways to encourage an interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary intellectual community. It helps to organize and infuse content, integration, creativity, and innovation throughout the general education curriculum, with the understanding that the needs of the curriculum drive the responsibilities of the CLA. The CLA is a source of continual quality enhancement for the general education curriculum. It is overseen by Faculty Fellows, who are appointed to it to provide intellectual leadership. The Fellows are awarded stipends, usually appointed for two-year terms, and overlap in cohorts of 5 or more. Each cohort includes representation from the arts and humanities, social sciences, and natural and computational sciences, as well as from interdisciplinary programs.

Together, the CLA Fellows will:

  • Prepare and review guidelines for the various components of general education, in collaboration with the Educational Policy Committee and the Dean for Educational Policy.
  • Assist faculty in designing general education courses that speak to the largest goals of the liberal arts, in collaboration with the Educational Policy Committee.
  • Help faculty to incorporate their research and scholarship into their general education courses.
  • Collaborate with student resource centers that affect student success in general education, in coordination with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
  • Survey course offerings in general education, in collaboration with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies and the Registrar.
  • Develop technological and pedagogical initiatives to benefit general education, in collaboration with the Dean for Honors and Interdisciplinary Studies.

Each CLA Fellow will also design and teach one new course in the general education curriculum.